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Dave’s Turkey Talk 101

Posted Nov 23 2009 12:00am

With Thanksgiving approaching there are many things to consider in choosing a turkey. First is the type of turkey. Whether you choose a regular turkey or an organic one, a fresh turkey will always taste better than a frozen one. In my opinion organic turkey is the best tasting, a fresh turkey is the next best then lastly frozen. Organic turkey is better for you. I look for certified organic turkeys since they have been have been fed organic feed throughout their lives, and have not been treated with antibiotics.

Next, you must consider the size of turkey to buy. You should allow one to one and a half pounds of turkey per guest. I prefer to have extra, so there is enough leftovers to make the recipe below.

If you decided on a frozen turkey, you must consider how to properly thaw it. You cannot thaw it by leaving it on the counter, or in a sink of water overnight. It should be thawed in the refrigerator. You should allow 24 hours of thawing time for each 4-5 pounds of turkey. Proper thawing will inhibit the growth of bacteria.

Now on the big day, when you are ready to cook your turkey, you should rinse it thoroughly with cold water, inside and out. I know it tastes better to cook the stuffing inside the turkey, but the turkey will cook faster, and there will be no chance of under-cooking the stuffing, if you don’t cook it inside the bird. You must cook your turkey to the proper temperature. Use a meat thermometer. The temperature should be 165 degrees in the thickest part of the breast, and 170 in the thickest part of the thigh. If you do insist on cooking the stuffing inside the turkey, be sure it reaches a temperature of 165. As I mentioned before, this may result in over cooking your bird. When you remove the turkey from the oven, cover it with a piece of aluminum foil and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.

Why I like turkey: because it’s the perfect protein. A 3-oz. serving of turkey contains.

Calories 120

Calories from  fat 10

Total fat grams 1

Saturated Fat grams 0

Cholesterol milligrams 55

Sodium milligrams 45

Protein grams 26

Iron %DV 8 

My favorite recipe for leftovers: Turkey Divan

This is an old “retro classic”, popular when I was a kid. While this may not be the healthiest turkey recipe out there, it tastes great and is something different after the holidays.

 2 cups shredded, cooked turkey

2 ½ cups cooked, chopped broccoli

8 oz sliced mushrooms

8 oz can diced water chestnuts, drained

10.75 oz can Cream of Celery Soup (buy the healthy, low salt version)

10,75 oz can Cream of Chicken Soup (buy the healthy, low salt version)

1 cup light mayonnaise

1 teaspoon lemon juice

¼ teaspoon curry powder

1 tablespoon melted margarine

½ cup low-fat or 2% shredded cheddar cheese.

Preheat oven to 350. Arrange broccoli in a 3 quart casserole dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange turkey over broccoli, then mushroom and water chestnuts. In a medium bowl, combine soup, mayonnaise, lemon juice, curry powder and margarine. Mix together and pour over turkey and vegetables. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake in pre-heated oven for 30-45 minutes.

 Got to for everything you wanted to know about buying, prepping and cooking the bird.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Dave Burger

Executive Chef

Kitchen Gourmet & A Company of Caterers

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